Sunday, April 19, 2015

'Legal education' on India's border with Tibet

Lebu village, north of the McMahon Line
The Communist website announced: 'Tibet Sets up Night Schools for Monba [Monpa] Ethnic Group’.
It quotes the local authorities in Cona [Tsona] county of Lhoka prefecture, who said that “night schools [will] offer courses on cultural knowledge every Friday, which greatly enhanced the literacy level of the locals.”
The report refers to an area, north of Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh (close to the McMahon line). The last Indian post is located at Khenzimane and the first Tibetan village (mentioned in the article) is Lebu, both villages on the western bank of the Nyamjang chu (river).
The article explains that the Monpa “ethnic group is one of the 56 ethnic groups in China with a population of 50,000. Most of the Monpas live in Tibet’s Lhoka and Nyingchi Prefecture [of Tibet].”
The website does not mention the Monpas living in Tawang district in India.
It however admits that while “the living condition of Monpas has risen considerably due to the development policy for minorities, [however] trapped by the bad traffic and communication [sic], the literacy rate is a little low.”
What is amazing is that this admission comes at time when China speaks of a ‘huge dispute’ with India over Arunachal Pradesh and that it is an ‘undeniable fact’.
The sharp tongue of Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson recently asserted: “There is a huge dispute in the eastern China-India border. This is an undeniable fact. …China always holds a consistent and clear position on the boundary question. The two sides should make joint efforts to maintain peace tranquility of the border area and create favourable conditions for the negotiation of the boundary question."
Though China continues to claim Arunachal Pradesh as an 'undeniable' part of Tibet (and China), it is surprising that local Communist cadres in the border of Arunachal admit ‘low rate of the literacy’ amongst the Monpas.
Wang Weixi, the director of a police station in Lebu Township [village?] of Tsona county told that “the night school established by the police station has made great use of the human resources and facilities. The officers will open courses to promote legal knowledge in the residents’ leisure time.”
What ‘legal knowledge’ is Wang speaking about?
Is the course on the 1962 War (Lebu village is located a few kilometers away from the Thagla ridge, which saw the first Chinese attack on October 20, 1962)?
Does Wang mean ‘political’ literacy?
In what do the Monpas need to be ‘legally educated’?
At the same time, the White Paper 'on the development path of Tibet', praises China for Tibet's progresses in every fields, especially in education:
There has been comprehensive development in Tibet's education, health and social security. The region took the lead in China to provide its residents with a 15-year free education (three-year preschool, six-year primary school, three-year junior middle school and three-year senior middle school); 99.59 percent of school-age children are enrolled at primary level; the gross enrollment rates for junior middle school and senior middle school have reached 98.75 percent and 72.23 percent, respectively. The quality of the population is also improving. Illiteracy has been wiped out among the young and the middle-aged, and the average length of time spent in education for people above the age of 15 has reached 8.1 years.
Illiteracy has been eradicated elsewhere in Tibet, but not for the Monpas?
Why do they need ‘legal knowledge’?
According to, Richen, a 27-year-old Monpa youth, knows little about legal knowledge. He is quoted as saying that after the training at the night school, he learns about basic legal knowledge.
The website adds: “A small library was built in Lebu Township in 2013. It opens to public every Saturday. More and more local people borrow books from the library and most of them form reading habits.”
Could the Monpas tempted to cross over to India, therefore the need to be 'legally educated?
It could be one of the reasons behind the Friday night's classes at Lebu Police Station.

No comments: